About Plettenberg Bay, the town, the history, its beaches and climate

Plett as a top holiday destination

Plettenberg Bay (lovingly revered to as Plett by the locals) is the jewel of The Garden Route and is tranquil and charming, hospitable and rather special. Originally christened “Bahia  Formosa” (beautiful bay) by early Portuguese explorers, Plettenberg Bay offers the visitor miles of sweeping, unspoilt golden beaches, a dramatic rocky peninsula, intriguing lagoons and estuaries, towering indigenous forests and unpolluted rivers and sea. With its exceptional climate and beautiful view sites over the Indian Ocean, Plettenberg Bay is perfect for tourists interested in exploring, watching or just lazing.

Plettenberg Bay has many fine restaurants and leisure activities such as game viewing and whale watching which are all within easy reach.


Sports & leisure activities

Sailing, swimming, kayaking, surfing, fishing, hiking, mountain & quad biking, horse riding & paragliding. The excellent golf courses (including Pezula, Simola, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Goose Valley, George & Oubaai) are all within easy reach.

Shopping & dining out

There are excellent shopping facilities in the nearby Market Place Mall at Plettenberg Bay and at market stalls outside town. Excellent local eateries can be found in Keurboomstrand, Plettenberg Bay and the surrounding area offering a choice of gourmet restaurants, bistros, pubs and cafés.


Knysna town centre 40 km
George Airport 100 km
Port Elizabeth 200 km
Cape Town 550 km

From Keurboomstrand to the Robberg Peninsula there are 15 kilometers of beaches punctuated by the river mouth and an island.

The river, lagoon, bay and beaches are much used by fishing and boating enthusiasts and offers the best shore based whale watching of the area.

The History of Plettenberg Bay

Evidence of Middle Stone Age man and later of the Khoisan have been found in Nelson Bay Cave on Robberg and at Keurboomstrands’ Matjies River Cave which were inhabited for over 100,000 years. It is assumed that Portuguese survivors of the Sao Goncalves shipwreck possibly traded with these people in the 15th and 16th centuries. When the Portuguese left, they left behind the Van Plettenberg Stone on Beacon Island which is now in the Cape Town museum. The island was then used as a navigational beacon.

In 1776, the Dutch East India company built their barracks in the bay which were later bought by St. Peters Church and used as a rectory which still stands today and has been converted into a hotel.

It was only in 1770 that Baron Joachim van Plettenberg (Governor of the Cape) officially named the town as we know it today; Plettenberg Bay. The Beacon Isle that we see today was built on the site of the final whaling station which closed in 1916.

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